“Because sometimes it is so hard to be thankful when we are in the thick of the forest. When the difficulties press in around us and we can’t decipher God’s voice in this time. We remember because it helps us in the now, it reminds us that God was with us then and he is with us now. We might not have known it in the past either but we can look and see the marks of his presence, his help, and his comfort. And this, my friends, is where thankfulness can grow, even in difficult times.”
“… patience is a precious gift from God forged in difficulty. It is the beauty God makes out of the brokenness of the world.”
“His love is as fierce and great as his holiness. His covenant is as firm as what he did to establish it. Dilute him and neither his love nor his commitment to us is worth very much. “
“There is nothing outside of Jesus’ realm of understanding, nothing that you experience that Jesus did not experience in his life. He took it all on - not just finally doing away with sin on the cross but a living redemption that goes into every last crevice of life that has been marred by the fall. All that was lost in that moment with Adam and Eve he changed, redeemed, and rescued. “
“As I sat there, on the mustard coloured couch, I realized that this quick onset of spring has exposed that I have been waiting for something. I have been waiting for spring in my inner world. I have been waiting for healing, renewal, change, for something more than my current medical routine and doctors appointments. “
Jesus wasn’t just a teacher. He is distinguished from other great thinkers in history because he claimed to be God. He was not just one way to interpret Torah or one way to live your life. He is THE interpretation of scripture. He is THE ONLY way to the Father. He is the WORD of God. He was there when the law was given to Moses and when the Universe was created. Jesus wasn’t just a teacher. He is Yahweh, the glory of God returning to the temple, the only way to the Father. Jesus is God incarnate.
“This is an opportunity to re-evangelize a part of your heart that needs to hear the words of Jesus again. “
“Grace is an invitation forward into something else, something better.”
“Jesus’ presence in the world is a light shining with such strength that the darkness cannot overtake it, the darkness cannot obtain it, the darkness can not even understand it. It cannot be extinguished because it is an everlasting light.”
“Father, the one who clothes me and provides me with all that I need, bless those that wear these clothes…”
“My laundry space is the epitome of unnoticed spaces. It is situated in the unfinished part of our basement. The room is lit by one lightbulb on a pull string. The floor and walls are cement, there are exposed pipes and wires, and two small basement windows. Not quite like the Pinterest laundry rooms so large and bright you might invite your friends in for tea for all the counter space.”
“…it is the kind of love that will find you doing unexpected things, things that are contrary to the status quo or what is popular in the culture. Courageous love might find you on the outside of things but closer to the heart of God. Just like Joseph. Just like many people who have encountered the love of God. “
“What I see, is that their joy is a response to the revelation of a promise fulfilled. A promise from the past, a promise for the present, or a promise for the future. It is a moment where they see with their hearts or minds that the Kingdom of God has come to earth.”
“The labyrinth is a physical expression of an inward reality. It is a journey inward, inviting Jesus into the depths and core of who you are and meeting with him there. And, what I am learning is that this is the same journey I must go on to receive peace.”
“I light the candle of hope this week amidst tears of thankfulness and knowledge of his love for me. Love which he has shown in the form of never ending presence. “
“Being a Mom finds me in all sorts of unromantic moments. Moments of hiding in the bathroom, holding someone’s hair back as they vomit, changing beds that have been wet, wiping noses, changing diapers, and wiping coffee grinds and moldy bit of food out of garbage cans. Moments that feel mundane and gritty. But what does it mean for me to tabernacle with God in those moments? This reality of Jesus’ work changes and shapes every moment, not just the impressive mountain top or picturesque ones. “
“Blessed are you John, if you don’t give up just because I am different than what you expected. Blessed are you John, if you stay the course even if your circumstances look different than what you believed you were promised. Blessed are you because my gospel has not been popular with the authorities, with Herod. Blessed are you if you do not give up because I haven’t saved you from prison. “
“What would it look like for you to plant a garden in this season? Throw a party to celebrate the good things that are rather than what might be? How can you sew some seeds or even just one seed in the place you live? How can you celebrate and prosper in your time of exile? How can you make good food off of foreign land. How could you make your current reality beautiful even while you wait for the beautiful future?”
“What if we sang instead of asking? What if we took an hour a day, a day a week, a week a month, a month a year and worshiped instead of asking? What if we were people who were so sure of who was fighting for us that we stopped asking and sang, prayed out God's character, spoke out a verse and let the questions rest? What would my life look like? How would this change me? “
“I have been afraid of pruning because I have allowed myself to believe the bad press God gets in our culture. I have been afraid because I have believed that God is cold, unfeeling, mean, cut throat and brutal. And in these times, in the times when God seems to be more mysterious in his workings, I hold onto what He told Moses about himself, "The LORD, the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands.." (Exodus 34:6-7) I believe it because this IS who he is.”
“When we fix our eyes away from ourselves and our troubles and focus them on Jesus we see the one who gives us peace, the founder of our hope, who rules over all of heaven. We see the one who loves us just as we are, in this very moment, in all our desperation.”
“When this all started a few weeks ago - I desperately wanted someone to blame and I frantically searched for the reasons this all happened. I wanted to know how I had taken such a wrong turn. How did I end up here? How had I exhausted my body so significantly that it needed a serious break? How could I let this happen? I should have been more aware, I should have been more on top of whatever it was that was happening.”
“But we can’t give up. We have to continue going back, continue waiting, continue to trust that God will speak and will come again. We have to believe in the goodness of God even when we cannot see the evidence for it. We have to trust that He is who He says He is. “
“But Jesus knows about the “stuff”. Whether or not we show Him, whether or not we try and clean our feet before we talk to Him. He knows. He knows all about the callouses and bruises on our skin, the deep cracks in our heels and the scars, and the dirt under our toenails. He knows about the smell of our feet and our imperfect bodies. He knows the same thing about our hearts, minds, and spirits. He knows about the things we believe make us unlovable. And He is trying to show us that He loves us even there. “
“This is what happens when I practice resurrection. It spreads well beyond my own act and creates shalom. Things feel a little more whole and bellies a little less empty. It opens my children's hearts to the wonder of creation and most importantly - the joy of the Creator.”
“Nouwen uses the image of a steam bath to describe the life of the Spirit within us. The only way to keep a steam bath hot is to keep the door shut and every time the door opens heat will escape and the fire will eventually go out if you are not careful. And so it with us- each time we speak we open the door to the Spirit’s inner fire and only through regular silence can you hope to stoke our fire.”
"Over Easter I reached #1000 in my thankfulness journal. Around #800 - I found myself contemplating what would go in that future significant slot. I had a dog-eared journal filled with many precious moments and memories over the past year but this one number seemed significant. 1000."
"Our little science project has been a good reminder to me that new life is both wondrous and messy, ugly at times. In 2 Corinthians, God tells Paul that His strength was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. Scripture points to the reality that as we walk faithfully through our own new birth into Christ-like people and face our own messiness with God (it must always be WITH God) - that we might just outwardly appear to others the way pregnant women do. Pregnant women, though in the throws of pain, discomfort and living in a body that feels a shadow of their former selves are stunningly beautiful. "
These voices and feelings of despair that we feel are in fact places God wants to be with us.
"The problem, I have realized, about praying safe prayers is that it keeps God small. Small enough that I feel like I can control him. Small enough that He can neither surprise me or disappoint me. It keeps Him falsely manageable. It keeps God at bay and un-wonderful. Just a little distant but also weak. It keeps my relationship with him polite but not intimate. Safe but not exciting. Tidy but not messy and transformative. "